On the up Hunter Ruthven · 15 January 2016
Voyage & Soap: From yoga teacher for the famous to health and wellness brand builder
Having started up and built a very successful yoga business, Dimple Sthankiya has now turned her attention to the world of wellness where she has plans to create a digital lifestyle destination. So committed to her new venture is Sthankiya, she’s sold her flat to fund the development of it and has just embarked upon a fact-finding mission to the health and wellness mecca that is Los Angeles. For ten years she crafted a successful premium yoga tuition and coaching serviceforclients including movie starsandprofessional sports personalities. The business, dimpleyoga, ended up taking the form of a team of global yoga teachers that Sthankiya oversaw. However, with so many people to manage, and a desire to see what technology could help her create, the entrepreneur used an approach from a buyer in Hong Kong to leave dimpleyoga behind and forge out on a new path. The new business, Voyage & Soap, is all about health and wellness themes which began to dominate popular culture and conversation during 2015. Sthankiya had experienced the power of yoga and the impact it can have on lifestyle and wanted to extend upon that. However, after first deciding to create a platform that would allow people around the world to access yoga instruction whenever they wanted, she pivoted the business offering. Conversations with advisors, such as KPMG Small Business Accounting, and investors left her feeling that building up a trusted brand first was crucial before any kind of digital teaching platform was laid over the top. The result is an app where people can download content on mindfulness alongside exposure to products of interest and ultimately travel tips. I want to be known as a thought leader in mindfulness for both businesses and consumers. More and more are aware of mindfulness, so it’s easier to provide and sell, she explained. it’s about working with what I call partners to sell products and services in wellness space to get people interested in the brand. The monetisation plan involves a number of streams, including commission from partners selling products. She is excited to see what will happen with the travel section of her offering, and will use popularity to determine where efforts are funnelled. So, having been a successful entrepreneur, how has this experience been different for Sthankiya? it’s way more technology driven. My original business started as I was teaching yoga full time. I targeted a bunch of A-list actors through their agents, offering free tuition, and had a 70 per cent hit rate. it was very people based as I had a load of friends who werent very good at selling themselves. I learnt about managing people and keeping clients happy when what you are providing could be seen as luxury.
ABOUT THE EXPERTHunter Ruthven
Hunter Ruthven was previously editor of Business Advice. He was also the editor of Real Business, the UK's most-read website for entrepreneurs and business leaders at the helm of growing SMEs.